Long tail boat tour of Inle Lake.
It was really fun skimming across the chocolate milk water, watching fishermen balancing on the back of their boats towering with one leg while setting nets by hand.
It was even more fun cutting through the narrow grassy canals of the "floating village".
D picked out a really quirky and fun Air BnB in Inle Lake called Aquarius Hotel. Hippie vibe, carrying staff, legit breakfast!
14 June 2017
Sunset over the Irriwaddy
Getting our asses kicked by Burmese food poisoning...
13 June 2017
Danielle was sick so I drove our comically undersized electric scooter in search of lunch. The popular spots on trip advisor were closed, so I stopped at this little all bamboo place and enjoyed a lovely hour of writing and this world class mango lassi waiting for takeout.
We rented ebikes from our hotel to go tour Pagan. We left without a plan but it was easy to find some pretty cool temples. We were accidentally yet awkwardly following an Italian couple that we keep running into everywhere.
After awhile, we got adventurous and decided to tour some back roads. After some pretty rising, these became increasingly washed out, resulting in a few close calls.
Trying to get around one huge puddle we cut through a field. Getting increasingly more lost we got trapped by some reboot traps, probably ruining some old boys hunt. They cleared the road and kindly pointed down the road. This led only to increasingly impassable mud and thicker brambles... We had to double back through all of it, and completely jammed one of the bikes up with mud and had to clear it with a stick, luckily right in the middle of the rabbit hunt again.
12 June 2017
Bagan Thiripyitsaya Sanctuary Resort
Beautiful manicured garden resort with brick temple ruins in the middle. We had a beautiful night enjoying their riverside porch swing, listening to the crickets and enjoying the cool lake breeze.
World class porches here.
The room is beautiful and breakfast was amazing.
The world's longest wooden bridge. Some of the piers are hundreds of years old. Legend has it that if you walk across with your lover, you will stay in live forever. The blasting cross wind made this a challenge, but it was fun to see all the reactions and beautiful costumes of the Burmese who passed us.
The Unfinished Temple
This place is an astonishing monument to the impermanence of human endeavors.
At first it looks like a carved mountain, but closer inspection reveals the entire thing is solid, made of millions of hand fired hand carried hand laid bricks, now eroding as a mountain would.
This was an impromptu stop by a taxi driver. Poetically because it lacks detail, but I'm surprised it's is not more famous.
Everyone we talked to in Mandalay was shocked that we would leave without seeing the world's largest (uncracked) bell, because it was awe inspiring.
Amusingly, the first sentence on the plaque declares it to be the world's third largest bell behind one in Moscow (the other unmentioned).
Hundreds of people had written on the inside, which wad interesting, and you can stand in the middle as people ring it by bashing the exterior with a log.
Also, really nice iron work around the outside.
A taxi driver unexpectedly dropped us off here.
It was brilliantly sunny. We bought a lei of intoxicatingly sweet white flowers and climbed the covered steps up the wedding cake tiers of the pagoda. Everything was brilliantly whitewashed, and there was a stiff cool wind whipping through the turrets and archways creating a heavenly environment. We left our offering, and wound through the catwalk at the top admiring the views of the other temples and the wide choppy Irriwaddy river below.
11 June 2017
So much more than a hill... We turned between the two guardian lions then walked up hundreds of covered stairs through a temple then out the back past little side gardens and improvised shops to another hillside temple. Then up hundreds of stairs past shops to another hillside temple. Then... it just kept winding, and going. Each temple was very different.
People seemed to be living their whole lives on the the side of this mountain pass--keeping shop, doing laundry, raising babies
The view and temple at the top were stunning--dozens of mirrored mosaics, statues, and ornamental roofs overlooking the whole of Mandalay and the Irrawaddy valley.
Many Burmese students looking to practice English approached us. We both ended up in long conversations as the sun set, and befriended 2 monks who we walked down with, taking about CS, and teaching them to play Concentration.
What a lovely night 🌙
We entered through a long cavernous grand hall lined by women selling offerings and trinkets. Tight rows of small stupa branch uniformly off to the sides occasionally broken by a wide courtyard where children in their Sunday best played in the dappled shade of ancient bhodi trees. The stelae inside each have part of a continuous message, comprising the world's largest book.
Inside the book stuppas, several ornate open air temples ringed the central pagoda, and worshippers slowly crossed the covered paths and tiled courtyards to pray and leave an offering at each.
The central pagoda houses a colorful towering Buddha, updated with a giant halo of charmingly garish flashing LED lights.
On the way out we were enticed by friendly shade tree merchants, and bought a set of the enchanting bells.
Hard to leave such a pleasant place.
We were awed from the road. Hundreds of uniform white stuppas towering solemnly over the wall. It seems endless as you walk barefoot over a concrete path through the rows towards of stupid to the golden pagoda in the center. Each stuppa houses a stone tablet in its core, and is topped with a cluster of brass chimes that tinkle continuously in the cool breeze. The effect of thousands of these chimes is magical and soothing.
The pagoda at the center is coated with mirrored murals on the outside. Bhuddists buy flowers and incense from women at the gates to offer inside. The interior is bright and white with a towering golden Buddha in the center.
Outside the main stuppa gleams in the sun. We squint at it and carefully walk on the path of white tiles to cool our feet.
On the way out we passed a line of nuns in pink robes on the way out. Most of them smiled and laughed at us as we passed, asking where we are from.
We slip our shoes back on and step back onto the road.
Streets of Mandalay
We set out on the dirt and haphazard asphalt roads of Mandalay to find lunch. We dodged traffic, pigeons and puddles passing small practical shops, festively painted iron gated courtyards, and inviting little street side cafes to our destination inviting little street side cafe. We chose our 3 items food from spread of steel bowls of enticing curries and salads on the main table and were given a huge bowl of cod rice as we pulled out our red plastic stools and sat down. The staff lined up next to our table unload the delivery truck through the middle of the restaurant, and a stiff wind blew over a massive umbrella. Nobody seemed to mind and life went on as we savored pumpkin curry and papaya salad.
We left Saturday after our last day in Shenzhen on a bumpy but rewarding flight.
Sad to leave but exciting to go!